By: Fr. Philip D. Pepito
While the COVID19 situation continues and people remain in their homes, the local church in Cebu celebrated even more significantly the feast of their very own saint – Saint Pedro Calungsod. Even more so since after he was canonized a saint there have been a number of occasions when his feast day fell on a Holy Week and his feast cannot be celebrated in a truly elaborate fashion in view of the paschal activities (commemoration of the passion and death) of Jesus Christ.
This time around, a different situation has arisen because of the looming threat of a virus COVID19. People are obliged to stay at home and cannot be in their respective parishes to celebrate the feast. However, one could observe that there were so many live-stream masses in honor of St. Pedro Calungsod in TVs, and social media platforms which actually give highlight to his feast day in this difficult time of fear, anxiety, uncertainty and death. Instead of candles in a procession, people are demonstrating their joy through the views they share in a live-stream Eucharistic celebration for the young saint.
In particular, Msgr. Joseph C. Tan, rector of San Carlos Seminary College and Media Liaison of the Archdiocese of Cebu, in celebrating the Holy Mass in honor of St. Pedro Calungsod, he beautifully relates the virtues of St. Pedro Calungsod and his martyrdom to the difficult situation that people experience today due to the COVID19. “Molaum kita nga sama kaniya, kita usab maluwas sa kalisdanan nga atong gisagubang,” he said.
(Let us hope that just like him, we too may be saved from the difficulty we are facing)
Msgr. Tan noted that even in the midst of a difficult situation in a missionary expedition in Guam, St. Pedro Calungsod continued to spread the Christian faith by teaching catechism to the natives. He remained a faithful disciple of Christ as an enduring companion to Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, his fellow martyr. And, finally, he was able to give his own life for the sake of the Christian faith just like the apostles of Christ before him.
Msgr. Tan added that if there’s one thing that we could learn from this young saint from the Visayas it is that we have to be devoted to praying the basic prayers. “Bisan ang paglitok og usa ka ‘Maghimaya ka Maria’ dako na kaayo og ikatabang…ang pag-ampo sa ‘Amahan Namo’ usab, ang pag-ampo nga gitudlo mismo sa Ginoo, maayo kaayo nga himoon ilabi na niining panahon sa kahadlok sa COVID19. Dili unta ni mahimong mekanikal lang nga pag-ampo, apan kinasingkasing gayod,” he said.
(Even reciting just one ‘Hail Mary’ can help a lot…praying the ‘Our Father’ also, the prayer taught to us by the Lord himself, is good especially in this time of fear of the COVID19. Hopefully, our prayer would not just be mechanical but heartfelt.)